In Fast Color (out March 29), Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Ruth, a woman who went on the run when her superhuman abilities were discovered. Now, years after abandoning her family, the only place she has left to hide is the farmhouse where she grew up.
Fast Color is directed by Julia Hart (Miss Stevens) and written by Hart and her film producer husband Jordan Horowitz (La La Land).
“My husband and I came up with the idea for the movie when we became parents,” says Hart. “I just felt this superhuman strength that I had never felt before when I became a mother. So, the idea for the movie came from this notion that mothers are superheroes. I realized that I’d never seen a movie where there was actually a superhero who was a mother. That was the origin of it, about these three generations of women — a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter — using their relationship with each other to understand, and accept, and use their powers.”
Hart decided to cast Mbatha-Raw after seeing the actress in the 2014 drama, Beyond the Lights.
“When Jordan and I were first writing the script, we saw Beyond the Lights, and we were like, ‘Oh my God, this is the character that we’re creating, she has to play this part,'” says the filmmaker. “What was interesting about that was, what started out as a story about female power and the power of mothers, ultimately became about the power of women of color, which, as a white woman, was something much bigger than me and my understanding of the world. Having such incredible actresses like Gugu, and then Lorraine Toussaint who played her mother, and Saniyya Sidney who plays her daughter, who are also women of color, was a pretty incredible experience. It was such a privilege to watch the story become something bigger than me and my experience of being a woman.”
Fast Color, which also stars Christopher Denham and David Strathairn, received its world premiere at last year’s SXSW Film Festival.
“I really struggle with some festivals and press and stuff, just because it makes me really nervous,” says Hart. “It’s scary sharing your movie with the world. This was by far and away the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had at a festival. I was seven months pregnant with my second child, and Gugu came and Saniyya came, and Barry Jenkins did our Q&A. It was just one of those nights I’ll never forget.”
Exclusively watch the trailer for Fast Color, above.